Meetings may be the bane of the corporate world but even small businesses cannot do without them, writes Josh Spiro of Inc.com.
The author believes that meetings are often so ineffective because many managers and business owners have unrealistic expectations on how they will operate, and a lack of structure usually means a lack of results.
But there are a number of ways you can make meetings more productive, and different methods work for different situations.
A lack of structure is likely to lead to a lack of results. But there are a number of ways you can make meetings more productive, and different methods work for different situations. Spiro offers some examples...
• Action-oriented meetings If you need to solve a time-sensitive problem, make sure everyone is well-prepared beforehand so time isn't wasted trying to come up with solutions rather than debating the merits of the potential solutions proposed.
• Creative meetings Although these can last longer than regular meetings, set a time limit to improve the focus of the session. Spiro advises that taking along "unexpected but relevant" items can spur creativity.
• Short-term planning meetings Spiro explains: "These meetings are likely to require a lot of team interaction… Make sure that people are on the same page before the meeting itself to save time and set out expectations for how and how often they will communicate both with the level of management above them and with their fellow teams."
• Long-term planning meetings These will include most, if not all, high-level executives.
The author, therefore, suggests: "If you have a lot of sharing going on make sure to choose a format that either maximises the opportunities for the upper echelons to share their vision with the employees or for the employees themselves to discuss improvements or changes that they feel could help the company meet its goals."